Logging arch

Designing and building your own. November 22, 2003

Does anyone have recommendations on purchasing or building a logging arch? Possible plans available?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
I am not sure what you mean by a "logging arch," but I use a Deere I-match quick hitch on the 3pt lift on my tractor, using a logging tongs in the top hook (there are other brands as well that run about $200).

I have used this size "arch" for over 40 years to log, first on an 8N Ford tractor and then moved up to a TO-30 Ferguson, a 420 JD, and now a 4300 Deere compact utility. It's not a big production machine like a big skidder, and it isn't as good as a "Farmi" or "Norske" type 3pt winch setup, but it works well for logs up to 22-24" dbh on the small end and 16' long.

Maybe you are asking about the logging arches that have wheels and the log is winched off the ground. I have not used this type as they would be more difficult to get around in the woods and back up to the logs. However, once the log is winched into the arch, they would make moving the log(s) out of the woods easier.

I built one to go behind an ATV, used an old welder trailer for parts and a boat winch, got some rear hubs off a front wheel drive car at the junk yard. It works great.

Here's a picture of one I built last year.

I too built one. Mine uses a sloped rod that has a ring running on it. No winch. You choke two or three logs with chain, hook the chain to the hook on the ring, and as you move forward, the ring slides up the rod, lifting the ends of the logs of the ground. I pull mine with a 300 4X4 Honda ATV. Logs up to 15" diameter. My logs are mostly small and softwood. I am also using the arch just for moving the logs onto the log deck during the summer. I cut and haul my logs in winter by snowmobile.

From the original questioner:
That gives me plenty to work with - lots of different ideas. For you who built your own, anything that you would incorporate that you didn't do originally?

The early log skidders were the "Silas Overpack" wheels build in Manistee in early l900. A club that I belong to reproduced a pair in 1995, which and are on display at the Water Works museum in Manistee.

If I were building a new one, the sloping pipe that the ring runs up on should have a small level section on top, say 6 inches long. When the strain comes on the logs as you are moving ahead, the logs would pull the ring up and onto this level section. Then as the strain lessens once you get moving, this level area would keep the ring from sliding back down the pipe, thus giving better clearance and keeping the logs from hooking the ground.

That being said, mine works well. I rafted 400 logs to my mill the other day. Put them in on the shore line at high tide and had them all ashore and on the rack or alongside in four hours. Just me, the wife, and a helper. It would have been a dog's job without the arch.

I would go with the Future Forestry Arch. I bought a FF Tractor Arch at the Paul Bunyan Festival in Ohio this year and it has by far been one of the best pieces of equipment I have bought to date. I have so far moved 40,000 lbs (20 tons) of veneer grade red oak with this arch in an urban environment, with ease!

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor J:
I built my arch with low weight and ease of use in mind. It has a 4,000 lb winch to haul in and lift the logs. I put a 4 inch sheave on the frame to reduce wear on the cable. I have the battery connected to the power-out plug on my ATV to keep the battery charged. I've used it on 16 inch by 35 foot long larch logs and my 300ci ATV moved them easily up and down hills. I used 3x3 inch box tube as the basic frame.

Click here for full size image

Comment from contributor M:
This type of log arch is not a skidder; it lifts the log clean off the ground, so you can easily tow it. I recommend using this design if you want to go down a road, or have rough terrain. It uses a powerful winch, log tongs connected by strong cable, and secures in place with chains. Use tube steel for construction, and the rest can be purchased at a tractor supply store or various online hardware stores. It should cost between $300 - $500 for one that does around 24 DIA logs. Surge breaks are expensive, but I would put them on one that is hauling more than 900 lbs. I would not attempt to pull more than 400 lbs. with an ATV, and no more that 1,200 with a garden tractor.